Chapter 13: Back to School
Okay, so maybe I hadn't really thought about it in those terms before. I mean, I've got to admit that, even though I trust Thor, I'm not so sure about the Asgard as a whole so I guess it kind of makes sense for these guys to trust them even less than I do. Besides, I can't help but realize that some of the things they just mentioned actually do make sense.
Let's face it, mini-me was supposed to be a perfect copy --up to and including all my memories-- even if he didn't age properly, and yet there are some pretty obvious differences between us, starting with the fact that given a choice I would never have gone back to high school. That is one nightmare I wouldn't have chosen to relive, thank you oh so very much. Come to think of it, just the fact that mini-me exists should have been more than enough to raise a few red flags when it comes to the ethics of Asgard scientists, after all, it's not like they asked me how I felt about any of this to begin with.
Sure, I know Loki is officially considered a renegade but I'm not naive enough to believe that the Asgard High Council would have turned its back on something that could have guaranteed their survival just because of how it was obtained if Loki had succeeded, so yes, I can definitely understand where our guests are coming from. In addition to that I can't deny that, given the fate of the clones created by Loki to cover his experiments --and the Asgard's indifference to that fate-- there is cause for concern. At the very least those things should have been more than enough to get us to think twice before agreeing to hand them a couple of kids to play Dr. Alienstein with. The problem is that I also know how much is at stake so I don't have the first clue when it comes to what we should be doing about any of this.
I guess it's kind of dumb but I have to admit that I had never considered the clones as anything but blanks and I really should have. I mean, I actually have a clone courtesy of the Asgard and yet it took a virtual stranger's comments to get me to realize that there's not that much difference between an Asgard taking over a clone that has been specifically designed for that purpose and a Goa'uld taking over a human that has been bred like cattle to be a host.
Sure, it's easier to dismiss it when it comes to a clone no one will miss, but does the cloned have the inherent right to speak for the clone? That's too much thinking for my liking but from where I'm standing I have to say that I don't think so. I mean, I don't think I have the right to speak for mini-me... and yet that is basically what we would be asking Buffy and Faith to do here.
This is not about cloning being right or wrong, it's about whether clones are individuals in their own right or merely things to be used and discarded, even if they don't have pasts, families or memories of their own. It is about whether or not clones are people and --as Dr. Giles said-- even though there is no question that the Asgard have mastered the art of cloning, I don't think they have stopped to consider the consequences of that 'art'.
Loki used me in his experiments without my consent. He cloned me. For him I was nothing but a lab rat to be experimented on and as far as he was concerned mini-me was just a byproduct to be discarded.
In other words, the decision to help the Asgard is bound to entail a lot more thought than we had originally intended to give it, but at the same time the fact remains that the Asgard's support is critical to our own survival, so this can't be about gut reactions either. We can't just turn our backs on them. One way or the other, there are bound to be some pretty serious consequences here and that is something we are just going to have to come to terms with.
Of course, maybe part of the problem is that it was a heck of a lot easier for me to be detached when we were merely looking for a theoretical 'someone' with the appropriate DNA sequence. Now that someone --or those someones-- are real, they have faces and names. They are a couple of girls only a little older than Charlie would have been and that is definitely not helping.
I mean, I remember when Carter first came up with her crazy theory a couple of weeks ago. One of the first things she told us back then was that --even though as a man I could never have a full sequence of the Ancients' gene-- I could father a daughter with that sequence, so that begs the question: if the girl the Asgard wanted to experiment with were my daughter, how would I feel about it? Okay, bad idea. I'm supposed to be trying to convince myself that we should help the Asgard here and picturing these girls as my daughters is not the way to do that.
The simple fact is that if the girl in question were my daughter I would say 'no way' and I know it, so I guess I can't really fault this Giles character for objecting. These may not be his kids in the biological sense of the word but it is pretty obvious that he is more than a little protective of the lot, though I'm not sure I want to know what they've been through... and that brings me right to the other revelation of the day: the fact that vampires are real.
Aliens I can accept but I have to admit that the things these people seem to be willing to accept as real are a little harder for me to swallow. In fact they would have been impossible for me to swallow if it hadn't been for the evidence that was presented to me. Whether I like it or not the fact is that the scars on Summers's neck mean that I have no choice but to accept that they aren't kidding about any of this. That means that Buffy and Faith are part of a long line of 'slayers' and by the sound of things those slayers don't usually have the luxury of long life spans.
I'm trying hard not to think about that but seeing how they said that for the most part Buffy has been the only slayer actively slaying these past few years I can't help but wonder just how many years we are talking about here, especially because Buffy is little more than a child herself and Faith is even younger. Of course, even though a part of me would really like to have an answer to that question, there's another part of me that is fairly certain that it doesn't really want to know.
As far as I'm concerned children should be protected but somehow I don't think that's what's happened with these two. So far I know that Buffy has been a slayer for years, that she basically died once and as a result another 'slayer' was called... and then that girl died and didn't come back. That means that, going by Buffy's age, chances are that that girl --Kendra, I think that was her name-- survived her 'calling' only for a very short time. Do I even have to say how much I'm not liking the sound of any of this?
I mean, so far we have vampires, demons and child warriors, not to mention magic. That is something I'm still not sure I believe in but unfortunately the general seems to have tabled that particular discussion for the time being... and I can definitely see how happy Carter isn't about that.
Okay, so maybe seeing Carter having to try to come to terms with the existence of magic would have been kind of funny, but the rest of it?
The thing is that that is yet another aspect of this little ticking time-bomb we haven't even begun to consider but I have to say that it does sound more than a little interesting. History may be Daniel's thing but even I can tell that if these people are the direct descendants of the ones who managed to do some serious Goa'uld asskicking thousands of years ago without modern technology or Asgard assistance then they are definitely worth talking to.
Sure, some things have changed since then --starting with the fact that burying the gate is no longer an option-- but the bottom line is that these people are people. They are from earth and that means that with a little luck they may turn out to be one group of allies that actually has the best interest of our planet in mind... now if only we could keep the higher ups from messing this up.
That is going to be tricky.
These people are skittish enough as it is around us and the truth is that if a Kinsey or a Maybourne were to discover their existence... well, let's just say that I get the funny feeling that all hell could break loose and that aliens, vampires and demons would be the least of our worries. They may be young and seemingly undisciplined but I don't think trying to force them to do something they don't want to do is much of an option, just like I don't think trying to take them out would work. If push comes to shove I suspect we would lose and lose hard.
Sure, they look harmless enough --and I suspect their looks are something they have used to their advantage more than once-- but I'm just not buying it. Looks can be deceiving, I know that better than most and my gut instinct is telling me that these are warriors and we don't want to get on their bad side... but maybe it won't come to that.
Maybe, if we tackle one crisis at a time, we will be just fine.
That means we have to get our priorities straight and right now our top priority should be the Asgard situation. In that regard Thor should be arriving soon enough. I'm hoping that he will have some arguments to counter the points these people have made up until now, not just because I do want the Asgard to survive but also because our 'guests' have made some valid points and the truth is that that bothers me. I like the Asgard and I had never thought that the fact that they clone themselves was in any way similar to what the Goa'uld do, but now that the parallels have been pointed out to me I'm afraid I'll have a hard time looking at them as I always have.
I am a soldier and that means I've been trained to follow orders, orders that at times have included doing some pretty distasteful things. I am not proud of some of them but the bottom line is that as a soldier I know I usually can't afford to question the ethics of those orders, now suddenly I find myself in a position where I'm not sure I can afford not to question them, not with what's at stake.
I know maybe I should leave the thinking to the likes of Carter and Daniel but the thing is that in this case I have a rather unique perspective in terms of what we are talking about because I have a far more personal experience when it comes to the Asgard's cloning practices than either one of them and in the end that is what this whole thing boils down to. In the end it all boils down to the fact that I can't help but find myself doing the math here and I hate math. In fact my dislike of anything math-related would be one of the main reasons why --if I were fifteen years old-- I wouldn't be caught dead going back to school.